St. Paul's Lutheran Church
clings and sticks to our nature all the way to our grave.” (Large Catechism, the First Commandment, paragraphs 5,9) In other words, we place our trust in the security and identity our wealth gives us instead of trusting in the One who provides the wealth.
That fact is, congregations can also fall into this sin. Whether in good times of giving or in lean times, whether with budget shortfalls or surpluses, congregations too can be tempted to idolize money. We must repent of this! Trust in God for all things. Trust in Christ! So, in the forgiveness He brings, we seek to live out our calling in accordance with God’s will. We seek to do ministry here in Fulton faithfully. This means being good stewards with what God has given. And so, money and the above discussion about it, is an issue of stewardship, which is, “the free and joyous activity of the child of God in managing all of life and life’s resources for God’s purposes." Money is just a part of this.
So, at the end our fiscal year, we have needs. To meet the budgetary goals the congregation sets requires the support of all of God’s people here at St. Paul’s. Specifically, we have a loan for the parsonage repair that was done a few years ago. We have made commitments to various missions and ministries that we have been unable to fulfill. This is your pastor asking you to consider giving to the needs of the congregation, so that we may deliver our budget expectations and support the work of the Church in this place. Prayerfully consider ways that you may bless this congregation with the gifts God has given you. Talk to a church council member, or an elder, or the treasurer, or the president, or the financial secretary, or your pastor about the specific challenges we face at St. Paul’s. God works in His Church through the hands and feet of His people. Consider what you might do to support our work here.
The Gift of Giving to (the) Church
“The only thing the church wants is my money!” Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard this sentiment. Seriously, raise your hand. Maybe you’ve heard it said…or maybe you’ve said it (or thought it). Related to this, is the constant discussion about money whenever you go to church. Urging to give to this charity, or to support that ministry. It can be tireless and endless. Why do we even need to talk about money?
This is a big question. It deserves some attention. The question also deserves some honesty. The Church, and this congregation, which is the Church, doesn’t want your money. However, while the Church of God, the body of Christ, is transcendent and universal, everlasting and forever, it is also fixed and located. Take our congregation for example. We are in Fulton, Missouri. We are located in a particular place (1703 Plaza Drive), in a particular time in history (2018 in the Year of Our Lord). Our congregation operates in the state of Missouri and in the United States. Yet we are the Church. In this place.
So, because of this, we use money. For many things. We pay the pastor’s salary (something I am heartily in favor of), we pay utilities that heat and light the building, we pay for supplies that enable us to conduct worship. We pay for candles; we pay for the communion wafers. All of this requires money. So, the Church, while it doesn’t want money, it needs money. To operate. St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Fulton, Mo. needs money because it exists in the world, and the world pays for things with money. And this is a good thing.
Because it is God’s world. He is the Creator of all things. He is the sustainer of all things. Our God is God who uses means to accomplish His purposes. Money is one such means. But whatever the currency of any time and era, it is all God’s. But our resistance to discussing money in the church or giving money to the church is rooted in our own needs and wants. We have families and bills, medical concerns, tuition and even hobbies. All of this requires money. And we work hard for what we have. But guess what? All of that is God’s too, your work and the fruits of your labor. I suspect, in our abundance, we struggle with this concept. Call it a trust issue. Martin Luther says in the Large Catechism, that money and property is “the most common idol on earth…the desire for wealth